The Dance of Shiva is a journey of expansion of our coordination, balance and ability to focus. When the patterns of Dance of Shiva become easy enough that we can think about something else while practicing, it is time to change the practice to continue expanding our coordination and processing capacity. We can move at a faster speed, we can change the pattern or we can add another level of complexity. Like in all aspects of yoga, rather than pursuing mastery, we are interested in engaging in mindful self-inquiry. A simple reason for this is to choose not to be stuck in doing things in only one way.
To add more complexity to the practice, the horizontal and vertical arm patterns can be combined with leg movements. Here is one basic pattern of leg movements.
Basic Leg Pattern 1:
Leg Pattern 1 Position 1
Leg Pattern 1 Position 2
Leg Pattern 1 Position 3
Leg Pattern 1 Position 4
Play with this pattern, moving forward from position 1 all the way to position 4 with each leg, then reverse the movements to go from position 1 to 4, then 3, 2 and returning to 1. The simplest approach could be to do the four variations of the arm movements combined with simple leg movements.
Combining Leg Pattern 1 with Horizontal Arm Movements
Dance of Shiva Horizontal Arms 1, Leg 1
Dance of Shiva Horizontal Arms 2, Leg 2
Dance of Shiva Horizontal Arms 3, Leg 3
Dance of Shiva Horizontal Arms 4, Leg 4
Of course, to add more options, the same pattern can be combined with the vertical arm pattern:
Combining Leg Pattern 1 with Vertical Arm Movements
Dance of Shiva Vertical Arms 1, Leg 1
Dance of Shiva Vertical Arms 2, Leg 2
Dance of Shiva Vertical Arms 3, Leg 3
Dance of Shiva Vertical Arms 4, Leg 4
Of course, the variations in arm movements can also be combined with changing legs and leg pattern direction. Since each leg pattern can be done in two directions, forward and back, then there are 2 movements with each leg, for a total of 4 movements. The leg movements then can be combined with the 4 directions in each of the arm patterns, vertical and horizontal. So that forward movement of the arms can be combined with forward leg movement. Then backward movement of the arms can be combined with the same leg moving backward. For the alternating movements, when one arm goes forward and the other arm goes backward, the other leg can go forward. Finally, as the arm movements are reversed the second leg can move forward.
In this video you can see an example of playing with these two options in the Dance of Shiva
There are, obviously, many more ways to explore with these patterns as a way to playfully immerse in this inquiry. As usual, there is never a good reason to strain, struggle or self-judge. Just trying is a good way to quiet down the internal narration and commentary.
I hope that you enjoy these explorations.
Please remember that there is a very complete DVD on the Theory and Practice of the Dance of Shiva by Andrey Lappa on Pranamaya.com.
More Dance of Shiva articles:
Simple guided meditation with Rubén